After twenty-five years in prison for a senseless juvenile murder, Gordon Loomis returns home to a changed world. His old neighborhood is blighted by drug dealers and neglected property. He needs a job, but no one will hire him, so he goes to work in the small rundown market where he stocked shelves as a quiet, lonely teenager.
His brother Dennis, a successful oral surgeon, lives in a beautiful home in the suburbs with his wife, Lisa, and their two young children. In many ways, Dennis’s personal success has been driven by the deep pain and humiliation caused by his brother’s terrible crime. Dennis tries to help Gordon, but he is torn by his own fears and failings.
Throughout the long years of Gordon’s imprisonment, his persistent, though uninvited, visitor has been the flamboyant Delores Dufault. She yearns to be part of Gordon’s new life, but he is as terrified of relationships as he is of being sent back to jail. Even the slightest misstep is something to be feared. Gordon recoils from Delores’s intensity and misreads her affection and her desire to be kind to him as self-serving.
Also drawn to Gordon’s decency and vulnerability is a neglected adolescent who lives in a nearby tenement with her crack-addicted mother. Thirteen year old Jada Fossum is an unloved child of the streets. She keeps herself and her mother alive by doing whatever she has to. Her desperate struggle to survive threatens the fragile balance that is Gordon’s new-found freedom.
Gordon Loomis can never excuse himself for that deadly home intrusion twenty-five years ago. And he will not allow anyone to try and explain it away. Because of him a pregnant young woman is gone forever and so he must spend his days accepting full responsibility for what he did. There can be no forgiveness. But in spite of his numbness and pain, Gordon will continue to be pursued by those who care for him, and need him, and love him.